Is Craniotomy A Serious Surgery?

February 15, 2024 0

Craniotomy, a significant procedure involving the opening of the skull, addresses various brain conditions. On a global scale, it stands as a vital intervention, frequently employed for treating tumors or severe head injuries. However, there are potential dangers and difficulties associated with the treatment.

Let’s discuss the seriousness surrounding Craniotomy, offering insights into its purpose, worldwide impact, and the reassurance it brings to patients facing intricate neurological challenges.

What Is A Craniotomy?

A craniotomy is a procedure in which a neurosurgeon surgically removes a section of the skull to gain access to the brain. The portion of the skull removed is called a “bone flap,” which is often placed back in its original position after the operation. The bone flap is typically fastened into place with low-profile titanium plates and screws. When the surgeon does not replace the bone flap for some reason, it is called a “craniectomy.”

A craniotomy guided by MRI-based navigational software is called a “stereotactic craniotomy.” Stereotactic craniotomy is usually the standard procedure in planned surgeries. With improvements in navigational software accuracy and surgical techniques, surgeons choose to do minimally invasive keyhole craniotomies when possible.

A less invasive method is a “burr hole” craniotomy, in which the surgeon drills a hole in the skull. This provides a limited view and may be used to drain cerebrospinal fluid, drain blood from a hemorrhage, and relieve brain pressure (intracranial pressure). The burr hole may also be utilized as a port for an endoscope so the surgeon can determine a further course of action during the procedure.

Dr. Vikas Gupta, a skilled neurosurgeon, specializes in Craniotomy. Known for his expertise, Dr. Gupta ensures precise diagnosis, thoroughly explains procedures, and diligently monitors patients’ progress.

His approach inspires confidence, providing reassurance to patients and families. With a compassionate demeanor and a dedicated team, Dr. Vikas Gupta contributes significantly to successful Craniotomy surgeries, emphasizing optimal outcomes.

When Is A Craniotomy Performed?

A neurosurgeon performs a craniotomy to access the brain for surgery. The surgery may involve the following:

  • Brain tissue,
  • Blood vessels in the brain,
  • Meninges  (the membranes covering the brain)
  • Skull bone

A craniotomy may be required for the following surgeries:

  • Clipping of a cerebral aneurysm
  • Resection of arteriovenous malformation (AVM)
  • Removal of brain abscess
  • Resection of brain tumor

How Serious Is The Surgery?

Craniotomy, like any surgical operation, carries its particular risks. A craniotomy is primarily a means to an end, so the seriousness of complications may depend mainly on the location of the brain and the type of surgery performed. Despite potential complications, a craniotomy may save lives, and individuals with no other pre-existing conditions are likely to recover fully with good care and treatment.

The following are some of the risks of craniotomy that are common to any surgery:

  • Bleeding
  • Infections
  • Blood clots
  • Reaction to anesthesia
  • Pneumonia
  • Unstable blood pressure
  • Myocardial infarction

Some of the specific complications that can arise post-craniotomy are:

  • Cerebral bleeding or hematoma at the surgical site
  • Seizures due to disruption of normal brain tissue
  • Stroke due to damage to a blood vessel
  • Cerebrospinal fluid leak
  • Brain swelling
  • Infection at the surgical site
  • Air within the skull (pneumocephalus), introduced through the craniotomy site, may cause confusion, lethargy, headache, seizures, and nausea/vomiting.

Some individuals, depending on the location, site of surgery, and pre-existing medical conditions before surgery, might encounter the following:

  • Speech problems
  • Memory issues
  • Poor balance and coordination
  • Paralysis
  • Coma

In patients with certain medical conditions, the risks are higher, and the surgeon might decide on surgery only if the benefits outweigh the risks. The following factors increase the risks involved in a craniotomy and brain surgery in some patients:

  • Advanced age
  • Cardiopulmonary disease
  • Poor functional health
  • Systemic collapse due to sepsis or multi-organ failure

Dr. Vikas Gupta advises, “Preventing complications in Craniotomy involves understanding the risks. Regular health check-ups, addressing pre-existing conditions, and maintaining overall well-being contribute to a smoother recovery. Follow postoperative guidelines, attend follow-up appointments, and communicate any concerns promptly. Remember, a healthy lifestyle enhances the body’s resilience. Your proactive involvement and adherence to medical advice are crucial in ensuring a successful Craniotomy journey.”

“I can’t thank Dr. Vikas Gupta enough for his expertise in my Craniotomy. His precise diagnosis and thorough explanation of the procedure made me feel at ease. The dedicated team’s care and compassion were exceptional, ensuring a smooth recovery. Despite initial concerns, I am now back to a fulfilling life. Dr. Gupta’s commitment and skill truly made a difference in my journey to health,” says a happy patient of Dr. Vikas.

What Is The Cost Of Craniotomy In India?

Craniotomy costs in India for Indian patients are between Rs.3,00,000 and Rs.4,00,000. The cost for International patients is between USD 5,500 and USD 7,000. However, the cost of a Craniotomy can vary based on several factors:

  • Geographical Location: Medical expenses differ by region and country, impacting overall costs.
  • Hospital Reputation: Renowned hospitals may charge more for their services and facilities.
  • Surgeon’s Experience: Highly experienced neurosurgeons may have higher fees, contributing to the overall cost.
  • Type of Craniotomy: Complex procedures or minimally invasive techniques can affect the overall expense.
  • Preoperative Tests and Imaging: Additional tests and imaging required before the surgery may increase costs.
  • Postoperative Care: Extended hospital stays or complications can add to the financial burden.


A craniotomy is a severe yet crucial surgical procedure, often necessary for addressing various brain conditions. While it poses risks like bleeding and infections, advancements in medical techniques and postoperative care contribute to successful outcomes. Though complications may arise, the potential benefits, such as saving lives, outweigh the risks. 

The decision to undergo a Craniotomy is tailored to individual cases, considering factors like age and overall health. Understanding the procedure’s purpose, risks, and benefits empowers patients facing intricate neurological challenges.


  1. Can a Craniotomy cure all brain conditions?

No, it depends on the specific condition and its severity.

  1. Is memory loss a common post-craniotomy issue?

It can occur, but some may experience it.

  1. Do all Craniotomies involve replacing the bone flap?

No, sometimes a craniectomy is performed without replacing the bone flap.

  1. Is paralysis a guaranteed risk of Craniotomy?

No, it depends on factors like the location and type of surgery.

  1. Can anyone undergo a Craniotomy regardless of age?

Age may impact the decision; older individuals might face higher risks.

Read More : Endoscopic Pituitary Surgery: What To Expect?

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